Emiratis among the top investors in Europe's prime ski resorts

Emiratis were among the top eight buyers of properties in ski resorts last year, according to a new study by consultancy Knight Frank.

The company’s annual Ski Property Report, which looks at trends in key global ski resorts, said that the range of nationalities buying in the most popular resorts in France, Switzerland and the US had diversified over the past six years.

In 2010, most buyers either came from the US, UK, France or Russia, but other nationalities to have become more active buyers are Emiratis, Swedes, Dutch nationals and Belgians.

Dana Salbak, the head of research at Knight Frank Mena, said: “Buyer trends have shifted over the last decade in the Middle East, as the region saw large capital outflows on the back of on-going geopolitical tensions.

“While the residential sector in London has been the greatest beneficiary, wealthy families particularly from the GCC are now looking at diversifying their portfolios and seeking second homes elsewhere across Europe.”

She added that Knight Frank expects this trend to strengthen as improvements are made to infrastructure in key ski resort villages, which is helping to grow property values. This has included the addition of more five-star resort hotels and other attractions such as cycle trails, ziplines and music festivals with a view to creating more activity in these areas during the quieter summer months.

Favourable investment conditions, particularly in France where investors in some off-plan schemes can reclaim VAT so long as commitments are made to rent out homes are kept, is also attracting buyers.

Strict planning rules have meant that the market has switched from single chalets to serviced apartments.

Prices in Europe increased at the fastest rate in the Swiss resort of Gstaad, where a lack of stock pushed up values by 13.3 per cent. It is the most expensive resort in the Alps, with €1 million (Dh4.1m) buying you just 32 square metres of space, compared with 40 sq m in Courcheval, 65 sq m in Val D’Isere and 95 sq m in Chamonix.

The study also identified up-and-coming resorts in several other countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Japan and Kazakhstan.

The resort of Shymbulak, near the Kazakh capital of Almaty, has attracted skiers since the 1940s but more recent investment from both Russian and Emirati investors “has put the area back on the map, and there are plans to develop several new resorts”, it said.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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